Pathé Exchange

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Pathé Exchange was an independent American film production and distribution company from 1921 through 1927.

As early as 1900 the French company Pathé, at the time among the largest and most successful film studios in the world, distributed its films in the United States. Around 1910 they founded their own American film exchange based in Buffalo, New York. Beginning in 1914, the Pathé Frères' film production studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey produced the extremely successful serialized episodes called The Perils of Pauline. The name "Pathé Exchange" was used to identify the distribution arm beginning in 1914.

Pathé Exchange was spun off from its French parent company in 1921, with a controlling stake held by Merrill Lynch. Charles Pathé stayed on as director of the American firm.[1]

In March 1927, Pathé Exchange was acquired by Joseph P. Kennedy and merged with the Keith-Albee-Orpheum chain of theaters and with Cecil B. DeMille's independent Producers Distributing Corporation to create what would eventually become RKO Radio Pictures.

In that interim period, production of short subjects credited to Pathé Exchange increased to about 150 in five years, under the nameplates "Manhattan Comedies", "Campus Comedies", "Melody Comedies", "Checker Comedies", "Folly Comedies", "Rainbow Comedies", "Rodeo Comedies" and "Capitol Comedies", featuring players such as Franklin Pangborn, Thelma White, Buck and Bubbles, and Alan Hale.

Among Pathé Exchange's independent productions are the very influential documentary feature Nanook of the North in 1922, and a large number of film serials.

The brand was discontinued in 1931.


  1. ^ The history of foreign investment in the United States, 1914-1945, by Mira Wilkins, page 89

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